Connectivity with Bühler Insights
Bühler is connecting the industrial plants with the Bühler Insights platform. Machines are transformed into networked devices via an IoT gateway connected to the platform. Plant operators and Bühler Product Teams use the data from sensors, machines, and machine control devices to optimize the efficiency of their plants and reduce maintenance effort, energy consumption, and wear.
The 'Pluto' Software Platform
Pluto is a completely OPC UA-based automation software for Industry 4.0. It is web-based and generates a graphical user interface for easy operation. Pluto generates solutions automatically and in real time, based on accumulated data. Pluto, thus, reduces the complexity of plant automation. Bühler Insights Gateway collects data from OPC UA Servers.
The main areas of application, so far, are wheat mills, rice mills, and silo handling. Installation efforts are also reduced by Pluto, which uses pre-programmed objects and automatically creates the software for PLCs with them. Smooth machine communication is, thus, guaranteed from the moment of installation. In this respect, Pluto requires OPC UA not only for data exchange, but for digital transformation itself.
"Every function in the PLC, every Boolean logic, every timer is an OPC UA tag," explains Ralph Häuselmann, Senior Project Manager R&D Corporate Technology at Bühler Group. "So a mill with 60 machines automatically generates 10,000 nodes in OPC UA."
No Data Highway
Nevertheless, Pluto's primary goal is to provide plant operators with selective access to relevant data as quickly and as straightforwardly as possible. "Producing a large amount of data and then just searching through it for important KPIs (key performance indicators) is probably not the right approach," says Samuel Ochsner. "In most installations, carefully selected data is queried. The selection here depends on the digital objective."
In other cases, such as with Bühler Insights Replay, the customer wants to see a playback of the MES system over time, which means that all data must be uploaded. In all cases, data selection with OPC UA can be tailored to the customer's objective.
A Complete Solution for All Plants
Pluto is a plant control system and is used for process control. It is used in smaller plants with up to a maximum of 150 machines. Larger plants, with more than 150 machines, are equipped with the Pluto-based production planning and control software, Mercury MES. As soon as recipes are required, Mercury MES is also used.